I am a very relaxed gardener. I am very trusting. I believe that nature is uniquely designed to take care of the seeds that we put into the ground.
I mean, seriously. Who am I to challenge the superior wisdom of Mother Nature when it comes to planting a garden?
The result of my calm and serene approach to gardening is the appearance of a very free spirited yard.
For example, my daylilies are mixed up nicely with my goose necked loosestrife, and both of them share space with the tall phlox that I never even dreamed of planting but which arrived via bird poop. There are the mallow plants that came on their own and the coneflowers that I actually placed in the flowerbed.
It’s all pretty and it smells great and it comes back every year! And…..Mother Nature is pretty much responsible for all of it.
See how relaxed and trusting I am? “Go, Mother Nature! You rock!” I quietly chant under my breath as I sit on the deck with a nice ginger libation.
I trust her.
I sometimes drop a seed or two, or pull out a few weeds. But mostly my yard is in her capable hands.
My pumpkin garden is the most perfect example of what a nice laid back gardener I am.
We have a small fenced off garden area that has gradually become too shady to grow most summer veggies. It’s OK for peas and garlic and a few onions, but not much else. This year, because my grandkids really love pumpkins, I put in a few hills of pumpkin plants.
And now, 8 weeks later, I have a few hills of wimpy, droopy pumpkin plants.
After I planted my few hills, I decided to toss the rest of the seeds out into the woods that encircle my yard. There is one small spot, about 3 ft by 3 ft, where I composted for 25 years. I tossed a few of the seeds out there, too.
The days went by. I forgot about the back woods pumpkins, but was careful to weed and water my “garden” pumpkins.
You can guess what’s coming next, can’t you?
Yep, you got it.
My planted, fenced garden is doing…..ok….ish. There are a few slender vines and some of them hold a couple of limp blossoms. I haven’t seen a future pumpkin yet.
BUT: my compost pumpkins are OUT OF CONTROL! There are huge vines taking over the entire area. There are dozens of blossoms on every vine. There are little newborn pumpkins forming on at least half of those vines.
All without one single bit of effort or attention from this mere human gardener.
So. I am now the proud farming Momma of three giant, tree climbing pumpkin plants.
I’m not convinced that my laissez faire 8 feet in the air pumpkins will live long enough to ripen.
But I don’t want to waste all of this fecundity, do I?
Of course not.
Luckily, I grew up in an Italian family. I know how delicious zucchini blossoms can be. I figured that pumpkin blossoms couldn’t be too far off.
So here I am. Making giant-free-natural-tree-climbing-pumpkin flower fritters.
I went out there this morning, into the wilderness of my backyard, and made my way to the compost garden. After pulling aside the humongous crab grass, the maple saplings, the Joe-Pye weed, the Queen Ann’s Lace and the nettles, I grabbed about half of the open blossoms that were spreading across the area.
I brought them inside and cleaned them out a bit. Pulled out the flies, and the stamens. Opened each one into a flat plane. Then I dipped each piece into egg and milk, and tossed them into salted flour. I browned them in olive oil, and added a little more salt.
I ate them all, one by crispy one, with an ice cold glass of white wine.
We might not get any jack-o-lanterns out of this particular airborne patch of pumpkins, but that’s OK.
I had a plate of crisp, salty pumpkin flower fritters.
I trusted Mother Nature and she came through.
And who knows?
Elle and Johnny might just find themselves the very first owners of the original air pumpkin.